Art entries flood in to fill Old Courthouse

Kamloops Arts Council had to respond creatively to a flood of submissions for its first juried art show in seven years.

The culminating exhibition spills out of the upstairs courtroom, down the stairs and corridor and into the arts council's main gallery in what has to be the largest if not the most diverse art show to have occupied the Old Courthouse Cultural Centre.

"It took us eight days to put the show together," said general manager Jacquie Brand. "We had three times the number of entries we originally thought we'd get. We were a bit overwhelmed so we had to reassess."

They had to reassess where they might install all of the works. After borrowing display boards, plinths and easels from the City, they managed. Ironically, the KAC juried shows were discontinued several years ago because there was a lack of exhibition space.

"There was a lot of really good work and a lot of people deserving of recognition," said Jan Seedhouse, one of three jurors who adjudicated 155 submissions from 65 artists.

More than 180 people attended a Friday reception where Bill Frymire was awarded first prize for his mixed-media mosaic Listen Closely. The mosaics have become an artistic success for the Kamloops photographer and graphic artist. He also received an honourable mention for Keith in Beer Caps, a mosaic of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, and a luminescent work called Anunciation.

Second prize went to Patricia Kellogg for her watercolour entitled Towards Kamloops Lake. Martin Tuba won third with Outside, a spray-painted elk antler.

The top prize winners received cash awards ranging from $100 to $300, but some of the works fetched prices far exceeding that. At the highest end, Frymire's Listen Closely was sold for $3,000.

The range of media and originality stand out in the exhibition.

"People have gone completely out of their comfort level," Brand said. Rose Delap, a painter from Savona who took in the show Monday, agreed: "It's not your run-of-the-mill safe Kamloops show," she said.

The elk antler is no exception. Dennis Cound won honourable mention for two of his detailed moose-antler carvings. Stained glass works by Cindy Hayden and Sheila Dunn grace the courtroom window.

Other works defy definition. Nelina Magliocchi submitted a large and whimsical acrylic-on-canvas called Bunnies Like Algebra Too.

Dave (Tiny) Court surprised himself with an honourable mention for Wave's End, a carving in Brazilian soapstone.

"Usually I do animals," he explained. He took the advice of his father-in-law, renowned sculptor Abraham Ruben, and let the stone decide what it should be.

There were more than 60 other honourable mentions, testifying to the calibre and creativity of the artwork overall. All works are for sale.

The show is attracting a steady stream of visitors, even on Sunday, when the centre is normally closed, and Monday, Brand said. Open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., it continues until Sunday.

Brand isn't sure how they will accommodate next year's submissions, although the City has plans to finish the basement as improvements to the Old Courthouse continue.

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